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Standards DATABASE!?!?

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Dear lab managers and microanalysts,

The microbeam analysis community needs you! Owen, Anette and myself have the desire to build a strong focus interest group (FIG) on standards and reference materials used for electron microprobe analysis (in WDS or EDS mode). Main goals are to assess the availability of the various standards and reference materials used in laboratories, to evaluate the quality of each standard materials, and to assess the needs for new standard materials. Ultimately, these results will be published on a website to permit a broad and easy access. Details of the proposal yet to be sent to the FIG chairman is attached to this email and broadly describe the aims of this group.

We need to build a strong community to support this group. A minimum of 10 people is required to create this group, and we hope we will get many of you on board for this megadontic project. If the group is accepted by the Microscopy Society of America, we will organize regular webinar, phone conference or email exchange to discuss the advance of the project. We will also meet at least once a year at a the Microscopy and Micronanalysis meeting. We also wish to have several international people to join the community, and for this, we might consider collaborations with other “sister” societies (EMAS in Europe, AMAS in Australia…).

If you are interested, please, contact us (private message preferable, address below) and we will keep you updated once we have officially submit the request to the Microscopy Society of America. Note that you need to be a member of the Microscopy Society of America to join a FIG.

More general information on FIG available here:

Many many thanks in advance,

Anette von der Handt (
Owen K. Neill (
Julien Allaz (

Hi Julien,
I suggest that this group also be tasked with the question: which standards should be developed for the global community, that is synthesized, e.g., RbTiOPO4, synthetic Cl-apatite, etc. And by developed, I mean in kilogram quantities.

If this was "crowd sourced", say $100 from each lab, it would be much more cost effective, not to mention compositionally consistent, than each of us buying a few grams at a time

Don't you think?

See here:

John Donovan:
May I ask a small favor?  Please allow one of your web import formats to be one of the Standard.exe export formats.

Also I should mention that I will be adding to the Standard.exe MDB database soon, the ability to import EDS spectra (in EMSA format), and also import WDS spectra (two columns per element format?) and also to import images (BSE, SE, etc) to each standard composition in the PFE standard database(s).

From Julien Allaz:

The Focused Interest Group on MicroAnalytical Standards (FIGMAS) is organizing a Pre-Meeting Congress (PMC) at the 2018 Microscopy and Microanalysis meeting in Baltimore. We kindly invite you to participate and even to submit a poster contribution (*) to...

X61 - Standards and Reference Materials for Microanalysis
Sunday, August 5, 2018 (8:30 to 5 PM; Baltimore, MD)

Registration for the PMC will open on March 1st. Everybody is welcome! You do NOT need to be a FIGMAS member to register for this PMC.

The PMC will include discussions on standards and reference materials used in a large variety of microanalytical techniques (SEM-EDS, electron microprobe, TEM, LA-ICP-MS, etc.) and their current and future needs. The PMC will consist  of three main topics with their set of invited speakers from academic and federal institutions as well as industry (title of each talk to be announced later):

PART 1 - Standard-based and standardless best practices
Nicholas Ritchie (NIST)
Philippe Pinard (Oxford Instruments)
Steve Seddio (Thermo Scientific)

PART 2 - Standard maintenance and availability
Cathy Johnson (Mager Scientific)
Tim Rose (Smithsonian Institution - National Museum for Natural History)
Gene Rodek (SPI)

PART 3 - Sourcing and creating future standard materials
Steve Wilson (USGS)
William Nachlas (Syracuse University)

There will be abundant time for open discussion and questions at the end of each session. At the end of the congress, posters will be set up for informal interaction with the authors and participants.

(*) We kindly invite you to submit an abstract (in the M&M abstract format - Deadline for abstract submission to our PMC is Friday June 1st, 2018. If you are interested in presenting a poster, please send the abstract directly to (do NOT use the M&M abstract submission platform!). Accepted abstracts will be published in a dedicated program book for the PMC, and will be available as a print-out to attendees, and later available online (PDF) to the greater public.

The PMC registration includes breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks.

Looking forward to see you in Baltimore!

Julien M. Allaz (leader)
Anette von der Handt (leader-elect)
Owen K. Neill (secretary-treasurer)

I have a question about database choices in general

SPI began selling RP5O14 standards for all REE+Y in 2000.  The whiolesale price for these from China was a little on the high side.  The supply was unreliable after about 2005.

Astimex released my homegrown RP5O14 and other products in 2010. The price was dropped and the crystals were at least 20X larger than the China  source.  I have most of the validation paperwork on file.

ALL; OF THESE RP5O14 were produced completely free of Pb and all other matrix and flux contaminants.

So here we are in mid-2018 and the only "public" supply is the ORNL sourced RPO4 as distributed by the Smithsonian, with gross and variable contamination of Pb in La-Gd???

What am I missing here--the secret blacklist of Astimex and SPI?  Because their websites have been updated as soon as anything was released for sale.

I am asking because I  invested savings into the "optimized" production of RP5O14 crystals, with a yield that would allow them to be sold for $30 each.  That's CDN$30 each for crystals at least 1mm (and many are 2mm).  I separated the business from Astimex because the Astimex mounts all had the crystals dropped into drilled wells by gravity.  This placed the best part of each crystal as far away from the beam as possible.

Right now I cannot afford to travel to the FIGMAS meeting but I don't think there would be any point.  If users are not able to read the online data, then a small meeting ain;t gonna make a difference.

PS When Astimex was validating a hematite Fe2O3 in 2010, we found extremely good large hydrothermal crystals with 1% As2O3 contamination.  Astimex made the decision not to sell.  That is the Astimex "standard"  that matters most.

And anybody who wants crystals can contact me off list.  I have Ebay and  PayPal accounts to offer buyer protection.


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